I'm settled into a room now, thanks to the kind and patient help of my friends here. It's humbling how quickly traveling to an unfamiliar place renders me completely dependent on the goodwill of others.
It's a bit like being a small child. My Indonesian is sufficient to convey basic information and hold simple conversations, but I'm almost completely incapable of expressing nuanced or abstract thoughts. I don't know quite how things work -- from table manners to activating a cellphone. I just have to smile a lot, make very descriptive hand gestures, and hope people think I'm cute rather than irritating.
So far, it's been an effective strategy. Today was my first day really on my own, and I've racked up a few small victories -- getting sandals fixed (This shoe is broken. Can you fix it?), getting pants tailored (These are too big, can you make them smaller?), ordering food (Gado-gado, please. Without egg or shrimp crackers), actually remembering the word for scissors (gunting).
It's my day to run small errands, because I start at the Jakarta Post tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.
(p.s. I've been having trouble uploading photographs. But I'll keep trying.)